Category: Customs Traditions

Maligayang Bagong Taon 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010 (English)

GODT NYT ÅR (Danish)

MALIGAYANG BAGONG TAON (Filipino)

¡Feliz año nuevo! (Spanish)

VIVAY BALUN TAON (Panggasinan)

Happy new year to all. When I was young we used to greet the new year by jumping when the clock turns to 0.00 hoping we will be taller but now when I turned 30 I lost hope I can’t grow taller anymore. In the Philippines we celebrate with new year with alot of superstitions and these are the ones I grew up with:

  1. having 12 round fruits (round symbolizes coins means prosperity-money)
  2. have a lot of coins in your pockets (again means prosperity)
  3. make ube halaya- cake (kind of root crops with violet color)-(means prosperity because before the highest denomination is 100 pesos and it is violet)
  4. Wear clothes with circles the bigger the better
  5. We used to make a Palitaw (floating rice cakes)  kind of rice flour mixed with water and mold into ovals and put in the biling ixed of water,crushed sesamse seeds and sugar and when the clock strikes o:00 it should floats (it means luck and prosperity you are always on top )
  6. Played the radio the loudest
  7. Gathers all kind of metals like the covers of pots and tin pails and everything that can make noise (I think to drive bad vibes or spirits away)
  8. We prepare a lot of foods for the noche buena (midnight dinner)
  9. Go to mass before midnight around 10pm
  10. Fireworks

And here it my collection of fireworks in my media collections.

Happy new year!!!!

A memorable All Souls Day 2009

burningcandles
This year all souls day will be  very painful for me and the rest of my family last year blog about remembering our dead not knowing just a few days my grandmother will past away on the 4h of November and later this june her son my father folowwed her. My father even went home to the Philippines to attend the funeral service of my grandmother and just as he came back in Madrid he was diagnosed with head tumor. It’s too much to take in just 7 months.

I did not saw my grandfather my on my father’s side but I can clearly remember we used to  visit his grave every November 1 in the cemetery just beside the beach. That’s only the time to see my father’s relative and that’s the only time for us young ones to get to know them since they leave in other cities. We waited until the big dragon candles my uncle used to bring form Manila the one you can buy in the Chinatown. Before November 1 I barely can remeber that there are padasal or prayers by our parish priest who go around and ask for the names of the dead family members and sometime a group of elders who prayed in latin well I don’t know it anybody still can pray in latin on our place.

Now it my time to light a  candle for tatay, my inang, my amang , my lolo on my mother’s side , all my relatives and all the victims of the recent typhoons  and at the same say a prayer that their soul may rest in peace.

inang-copyTataypadasal-1024x801

A Filipino Father’s Love

When you ask a Filipino to describe their father they will say strict, provider, distant, doing less housework, doing all the repairs in the house and many more. But this is not a negative description of the Filipino fathers because it is deeply rooted in our culture that the father is the provider meaning the breadwinner of the family seeing to it that he provide a decent house and food in the table. The management of the home is left to the mother which includes budgeting and family affairs and upbringing. But the father is considered the head so all decisions still needs the father’s approval.

Father's love

Father's love

It is the same here in Denmark many years ago when the men are the working while the women are the one who stayed home and doing the housework. Now the men wanted more equality in the family life. They became more visible, they change diapers, do housework, take the children to the park or just push strollers, attend PTA (Parents Teachers Asso.) meetings and alot more. Just a few years or a year ago I don’t remember exactly the law recognized the important of father figure in the life of a child that is the parents have equal right when they separate and file for divorce it’s not automatic that the mother will get full custody and the father just have to pay the alimony but it will be shared by both parents.

My father is typical Pinoy Father he is so authoritative we were afraid to break his rules like just hearing his pssssst then we will rush home (that was because he forbids us to join or even watch the barn dance you know sayawan but today it will be like a disco or party where the girls just sits and wait for the boys who will dance with them you get the point why it was forbidden). It was so typical in the old times to spank your children when they get naughty and I tell you I experienced quiet a lot. But he never slapped our face or hit any parts of the body but our bottoms which sometimes we put some cloth so as not to feel the pain. Many will not understand this but that was the way they discipline children in old time but it will stop when you reach puberty age there is another way like house arrest or other ways. I not hitting or spanking my son but for sure I always think twice when I was young I have to do against the will of my father and even now when I have to do something I always think if it according to the teachings of my father.

Mano

Mano po

Source: downloaded from www.deviant art.com

When I was young I seldom see my father kiss or hug us but he showed in many ways how he took care of especially when my mother left us to work abroad he was both our mather and father and thats a tough job. How he provided us with a roof over our head and food in the table and took care of us is enoug to know how much he loves us. When we take his hand in our forehead or Mano po and lovingly he answers back that’s love. Mano po is a Filipino tradition of giving respect to older persons especially parents usually when you see them in the evening you say Good Evening Father and take the right hand and put it in you head you also do that when you arrive home. But his answer is already a sign of love he answer back Good evening also and may God bless you anak.

My father teachings:

  • Respect your elders
  • eat only what you can just think about those children who don’t have anything to eat
  • Study hard
  • he hates young people who flirts at a very young age so we have to focus on our friends and studying (luckily there was no internet and cellphone at that time)
  • Although he doesn’t regularly go to church it’s my mother who is so religious he still encourage us to go to church on Sundays.
  • be kind and helpful to the needy.
  • don’t lie or steal
  • an there’s a lot more

Life is not perfect I brought joy and honor to my parents but one time in my life I also brought tears to them when I made a bad decision and I know I broke my father’s teaching but I’m just human who is capable to make some mistakes. The other relatives maybe were talking behind my back condemning me but not my father. He did not say anything but I knew then its like a code in the family that he did not approved it. Same with my other siblings we did not heard any harsh word which made us realize that we have to choice what is right. Later on all those trials made us so strong and see things in more brighter way.

When he live in Spain he became more understanding maybe he see the way the young ones lives in the west but still he wants us not to be westernized in our way of living. Instead of mano, we still do it sometimes but we kiss ecah other checks like beso beso. But we also talk alot before maybe I got this talent from him about my interest in Social Studies and current events and I can you that we can talk for hours. He loves to hear the news and The Desperate Housewives (wow I don’t follow it). But I wanted him to know that he may not be the perfect Father in the world but for me and my siblings he is the best father and TATAY WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.

I wrote this post because I’m on my way to join and visit him again in Madrid hospital where he just underwent a head surgery where they removed a big tumor he is stable but suddenly when they move him from the ICU to his room he became weak and doesn’t say so much. So I decided to take my son and visit him. Upon hearing that we will come he tried his best to stand up and I hope that he will soon be back to his old self.

I also applaud another father who is there to support his wife and daughter who are in the hospital because of dengue fever. I read his blog regarding family matters. I will make a small donation thru my cousin in the Philippines . You can not believe the power of Bayanihan spirit among the the Filipino Blogger who give donations and supported other bloggers call to help Angel Father Blogger

Angel Cula's aka FatherBlogger

Angel Cuala aka Father Blogger

Please go to the Mel of Filipino Bloggers Unite site who requested me to repost regarding the details of this call But I was so busy and stressed these past few days and I thought it was late na but the father blogger still accepts assistance just visit his site where you can contact to give assistance an support at www.blogcomplaint.blogspot.com

The Filipino father will do whatever he can do protect and provide for his family they may be as showy as we wanted to be but they will show their love and commitment when the safety and health of their family is threatened.

My prayers for the full recovery of your wife and daughter Father Blogger.

I also ask you to join me and say a prayer for my Father’s fast recovery and hope that the tumor is not malignant.

Happy New Year To All

Goodbye 2008

I thank God for all the blessings my family received this year. I consider every living day a blessing we must cherish and appreciate it. Sometimes things don’t go the way we wanted it to be but maybe for a reason. Don’t let hatred reign your heart forget and live on don’t waste time and energy blaming yourself, your neighbor, your family and your enemies. PEACE

This year will forever etched in my memory. There’s a a lot of things that so memorable for me. For the first time I went back to the Philippines after 6 years and saw my new twin nephews and my Inang (grandmother) before she passed away last November. I also experience my son’s some kind first graduation from the day care to the kindergarten. We also celebrated christmas together with the rest of my family complete at last plus add ons (our husbands and children) for the first time after 28 years although we are sad that my father has been confined last Dec. 26 to wait for head surgery because he has brain tumor. I pray that he will have a successful surgery it just too bad that I and my sister can not be in his side.

Hello 2009

We don’t know what’s in store for us but I wish everybody a

HAPPY NEW YEAR

We say GODT NYTÅR in danish

FELIZ ANIO NUEVO in Spanish

MALIGAYANG BAGONG TAON in Filipino

We will celebrate the New Year In my Aunt Elvira place tomorrow where we will eat a wonderful dinner maybe its a stuffed goose or duck & potatoes as a main course and seafoods or fish usually steamed cod as the first course with white wine.

As far as I can remember I celebrated the New Year’s Eve like any Dane does traditionally good dinner, wine, champagne and having fun with friends and family. Six o’clock in evening everybody is tuned in the television for Queen Margarethe’s Tale and eat dinner around 7 and finished eating around 9. Watch a movie or maybe a Filipino tradition Karaoke then at 11:45 Pm while every year the Danish National DR1 sends the Dinner for One or also known as 90th Birthday well even this is very old it’s still fun to see check it You tube.

When the Copenhagen City Hall clock rings at 12:00 or her we use 24 hr 0.00 we drink champagne and cheers and wish everybody good new year. Not to forget there is a kranskage a marcipan ring cake which you can read from this http://www.odense-marcipan.dk/kob-hos-din-bager/kransekagens-historie.html and by translating it forgoogle it turns out the horn is Cornucopia is made of rings and put together to form like horn form and fill it chocolates and confects. The story says it is a symbol of fertility and prosperity. The picture below is baked by my aunt who is educated in the Danish Pastry School.

I wish verybody PEACE & PROSPERITY for the New Year 2009.

CHEERS!!!

pc310314-copy

Cornucopia Marcipan Cake

In the Absence of “The Light of the Home “

A long distance relationship… What kind of relationship is that?

“Ask a Danish man who is married to a Filipina “I said when I was told about my brother who was leaving his wife and 2 children at home, in search for greener pastures in Spain. Two months later my sister-in-law found out that she was pregnant with twins!Most westerners can not understand why Filipinos leave their families to work abroad.

I went home and looked back at my own Filipino family’s saga on how we became a truly global Filipino family.

In a traditional Filipino family, the father is considered the head and the provider of the family and he is often referred to as the “ Haligi ng Tahanan”, The Pillar of the Home.While the mother takes the responsibility of taking care of the children and managing the home, she is called the“Ilaw ng Tahanan” or the light of the home. Children see their mother as soft and calm, while they regard their father as strong and the eminent figure in the family.

But in our case our mother is the one who has the strong character; she is not only a mother to us but she also does some of the things that my father lacks like handy man, and sometimes also making ends meet when my father’s earnings can’t support their 5 children.

My father tends our fishponds but sometimes typhoons, floods, and other calamities that always pass through our province makes it a very unstable source of income.He also used to be a Biyahero a merchant so we had market stalls in 3 towns in Pangasinan (a Northern Province in Luzon island, ed.) but it was still not enough to provide good education for us kids which was their dream since they had only minimal education themselves.

In 1981 our lives changed when my mother left us to join her siblings here in Denmark to find work. I still can remember that time, I cried for several hours because I cannot imagine what our life will be without her. In a family, the mother is the light for all the pains and comforts. She is the light for all the mistakes and corrections. She is the light for all the happiness and sorrows. Without that light, the house can still stand but, there will be darkness. And with the darkness, there will be constant searching for direction and survival.

I was the eldest of the five children and I was 11 at the time she left us. Her responsibilities fel on my shoulder: I washed our clothes, cooked our food, and cleaned the house. I also became the surrogate mother of my youngest sister who was only 2 years old at that time. My brothers were 6 and 8 years old and my other sister was 9. There was a constant feeling of sadness and deep longing for us to be with our mother. Birthdays, Christmas, graduations and all the special events without our mother will forever be etched in our hearts. Gifts we received like new toys or new clothes were a momentary plaster to the emotional sores that made us numb with longing for family togetherness.

I can’t remember how I felt when I saw my mother for the first time in 4 years but what I can vividly remember was my youngest sister reaction at that time. She could not recognize my mother, it took her a month to get to used to the idea that we have indeed a mother.The site of the postman was a relief during that time. I can’t describe the excitement whenever we received greeting cards or letters from our mother. That was during the pre-internet age and there were no telephone lines in our place. Whenever we missed her we would just read her letters to reassure ourselves that she still with us but just thousands of miles away.

If it was difficult for us kids, it was even more so for our father who had to assume the mother and father roles at the same time especially when we reached puberty. My father was very strict with us: no parties, no gimmicks and no discos.I almost did not attend the Junior Senior Prom (Dance Ball).There was a lot of resentment and confusion for a teenager due to hormonal changes to our bodies that were happening, but somehow we managed through the help of my one and only female cousin on my mother side. Most of my aunts and uncles were also abroad at that time so mostly we had to manage ourselves.

Later, our father joined my mother 8 years after my mother  because I went to college and soon another sibling will follow. After a few months my sister followed him, leaving my 2 brothers and youngest sister under the care of my grandmother.I was in college and lived in Manila at that the time until my other siblings joined me when they went to college. My parents went home every 3 years after that.

Living without our parents was difficult but it made us closer to each other, and stronger to face life’s challenges.We’ve been through a lot of problems like studying, jobs and relationship problems.We even experienced that our apartment burned down not only once but twice with most of our priced possessions like pictures from childhood and most of the material things I gained while working, burned into ashes.We were lucky to receive help from other people like my employer at that time, who gave us financial help when we needed it most. But those experiences taught us that the family is more important thing than anything else in one’s life. Material things can vanish any time.

My parents were present during our graduation except my youngest sister’s graduation.When we entered the Philippines Convention Center where our graduation was, one can clearly see the tears in their eyes and the pride to see us in our togas, when we went up the stage to receive our diplomas.

I got a degree in Civil Engineering and is now pursuing another degree in Constructing Architect or Architectural Technology here in Denmark.One brother is dentist and one is a Electronics and Communication Engineer.My youngest sister finished Chemical Engineering, and another sister finished International Relations studies.

It was the dream of my parent for us to finish our education so we will have a better chance to have a good future.

But there’s an anti climax to our story. After several years of working in the Philippines, we still could not see a better future for all of us, we followed  our parents footsteps and are now joining the millions of global Filipinos trying to find a better future, which our own country unfortunately cannot provide us.

My family are composed of global migrants of 2  generations both on my father and mother’s side, families with one or both parents working abroad and children living here in Denmark, my parents are in Spain, my sister and myself here in Denmark. Others cousins and relatives are in the USA and one is a seaman. Some cousins also works in Dubai and other parts of the Middle East. We vowed once not to follow our parent’s footsteps because we don’t want our children to undergo what we have been through. Although we can alway join our parents in Spain but maybe it’s our destiny to find our happiness here  in Denmark and we are grateful to our Aunt Elvira and her family for inviting us here where we met our husband and lives a better life than living in the Philippines. Spain is much closer and cheaper and we’re hoping to to spend our first Christmas together this year with our complete family, it will be the first since 1981.

Did my parents dream turn into nothing because we are working and living abroad after earning our academic degrees in the Philippines?No I don’t think so, It is not our fault that the economy of the Philippines is in disarray and that it can not keep its highly educated citizens home.But we will always be thankful to the sacrifices of our parents because having education is the best thing they can give us because it will never vanish and someday it will help us to find the right jobs here in Europe.

Even in the absence of the Light of the Home, we still functioned as a family because of the sacrifice my parents did just for the sake of a better future for their children. They became our guiding light to stay away from all kinds of temptations and we became responsible adults. It’s the love for the family that drives many Filipinos to leave and work abroad.

Our First Family Picture taken last 2001

Our First Family Picture taken in 2001

< ![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>

This is our first and only family picture in 2001 meaning that finally we are complete as family plus the my sister in law and my niece.


Note:  This article was first published in ABAKADA,”Ang Balitang Kababaihan sa Denmark”, (The Filipina news in Denmark) in the Summer 2008 issue which theme is about Filipino Women’s on global migration. You can read other articles in that issue at www.babaylan.dk.

I posted this article because we will joining my parents in Spain are for the first time in 27 years we will spend the Christmas together as a family. It will be the realization of our dream and prayers for the past 27 years to be together during christmas but now that that we have our own families it will be more exciting and memorable for all of us.

That is for me the meaning of christmas to be with your family like the family in Bethlehem Our Lord Jesus together with His Parents and that will be the greatest gift that we will never forget.

How about you are you going to spend your christmas with your family?

Filipinamom’s Christmas Countdown #3- Unique Gift wrapping Technique

Have you bought all your Christmas gifts and have you not gonna wrap it. Wait.  I was stumbling the other night I find out about this fun and creative Japanese style gift wrapping system called Furoshiki.  If you read my profile or my very first post you will know that I’m concerned about our environment.

Every Christmas we are using tons and tons of gift wrappers and worst is that when you are using metallic wrappers we are contributing to global climate change.  Some Filipinas like my aunt usually keep nice wrappers, ribbons and other thing for re use but what if we follow this tip and other tips from www.recyclenow.com we may be feeling less guilty of the effects of waste in our environment.

You can use any fabric just watch the video or follow the instruction.


Furoshiki gift wrapping from RecycleNow on Vimeo

Filipinamom’s Christmas Countdown #2- 24 Days of Christmas

December month in Denmark is not only about Christmas but also the time of Christmas Calender or the Advent calendar.

  • The Tv stations (DR & TV2) usually make a special advent calendar tv series starting from the 1st of December to the 24th. Denmark’s Radio started to air Stories from around The World in 1962 then every year after that came the follow up advent calendars, then TV2 joined in 1990 with the “Christmas in the Old Wheel”. I also watched some of the old ones like Goblin’s Gang in Greenland, Krummernes Jul (I don’t know how to translate this one, it is actually a family name Krummer but it has double meaning), Jesus and Josefine, Christmas in Veterbro and others. It was entertaining but I think it’s hard for the foreigners to understand because you have to understand a little bit of the danish culture and humor. We also have this in the Philippine although I can not remember any particular one but it is the same 24 days airing but usually it’s very emotional roller coaster you know Filipinos are very emotional.

In DR1 there is an ongoing series called the Nissernes Ø or The Goblins Island and showing at 17:30 everyday but in case you are in Denmark and you missed it you can watched by clicking the picture. Although it’s in danish but you can have a peek what its all about.

  • I’m feeling a little bit guilty since we haven’t made any Packed Advent calender to my son yet which is another tradition here in Denmark. I think l my son is too young to understand, that he has to open only one at a time but knowing him I know it will be a struggle everyday to keep him from opening all the gifts in just one day if ever we made one. My sister on the other hand has started this tradition since last year (my nephew is the same age as my son) because it’s her mother in law’s tradition which is the opposite of my husband’s family who are untraditional and that’s also includes me. My husband and I agreed that we will start when he is 3 years old that’s next year but I think tomorrow I will just to buy a chocolate advent calendar to warm up next year and I will see how he will react to it.

Basically a packed advent calendar is 24 pieces of wrapped gifts with 1-24 numbers in it and it’s just a small things in it usually cost 10 -20dkk but if you don’t have time like me there’s a lot of ready made in the supermarkets but it’s made of chocolates or candies.

Here’s a peek of creative way to packed advent calendars (Sorry I forgot the Source of these pictures but it either from Picasa or Photobucket, if you’re the owner of this pictures please consider it as a Christmas gift to me :))

In the Philippines we have a our own version of gift giving or kris kringle, remember Monita/ Monito. This is done among group of friends, school mates and officemates. I remember doing it in school and in my workplace before. The mechanic is so simple for example in an office all participants will to have write their name in a piece of paper and put in a box then draw it whoever you picked up will be your monita if it is a girl or monito if it is a boy. It usually starts on the 16th coinciding the start of the midnight mass another Filipino tradition but it’s up to the group how long it will be. Then you have to give small gifts to your monito/monita everyday and it has to something the group had agreed upon and sometimes it sounds like this;

1. First day: Something soft

2. 2nd Day: Something Long and Hard

3. 3rd Day: Something Round

4. 4th Day: Something Sticky

5: 5th Day: Something Wet

and so on

That’s the funny part of it because you have to be creative and  it doesn’t have to be expensive and sometimes it’s irritating what you get. You should not reveal the name of the Giver or the (godmother or godfather) until the Revelation Day, the Christmas Party that’s when you’re doing to give the big gift. Once I received not so funny gifts in the beginning but in the end I got the biggest gift because it turned out that it was my boss who was my godmother (who got my name).

Most of the Christmas traditions are the same in many countries but with a little variations but I would definitely say that the Filipinos are more creative or should I say spicy in terms of traditions there’s no dull moment. We are very sociable and always full of laughter that some misunderstand it but we are happy people in spite of crisis we still able to laugh.

Exchanging gifts or gift giving is another spirit of Christmas and we have to remember that in this time of financial crisis we have to be sensible in choosing what to give and also what to wish this Christmas. For me what matters most is the time you spent with your loved ones and not the material things.

How about you do you also exchange gifts on Christmas eve?

Filipinamom’s Christmas Countdown #1- Family

December for me is the most stressful month of the year both here in Denmark and the Philippines. But To counter act the stress I will start to post mostly about christmas traditions or what ever connected to Christmas or Yuletide (jul in danish).

In the Philippines Christmas is the most important of all holidays it is the time we spend time with our family. December is the nicest time to visit the Philippines because of the cooler climate, the wonderful christmas decorations especially the Christmas lanterns. But this is also the most expensive time to travel to the Philippines because it is the peak season, just imagine millions of Filipinos from all over the world rushing to go home to the Philippines to be with their families. They say it is the longest Christmas in the world since it starts when the month of “ber”. and ends up the Feast of the 3 kings around January 6.

The Nativity- The first Christmas

This picture was taken at the St. Anne’s Church. In Filipino we call it Belen or the Nativity.

But for Filipinos christmas means family. For millions of OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) families like myself this was always means sadness since it means spending the Media Noche (midnight dinner) without the rest of our family.  First it was my mother who left us to work abroad then followed my  Father then my sister and for such a long time it’s only me and my 3 siblings who celebrated christmas  I think more than a decade. Most of the time we spent Christmas at our relatives but I remember that it’s was always reminding us that we are like outsider because our parents we’re not there.

Well so much for the sad memories. I look forward to this Christmas because after 25 years we will spent the Christmas as a family. Me and my family together with my youngest sister’s family will visit my parents, brothers and sister this Christmas although it is only a week long vacation surely it will mean a lot to us. It will realization of our dreams which can be traced back all the words of hopes and dreams to spend the Christmas together in the Christmas cards exchanges in the last 2 1/2 decades.

It is also a tradition here in Denmark to spend the christmas with the families during Christmas. They also go to the mass and eat their dinner just earlier than us usually around 7 pm and they also gather around the Christmas tree to exchange gifts.

Exchanging gifts is not the main center point of Christmas celebration in the Philippines but being with your family. First hear the Christmas mass in the church and wearing your finest clothes, kissing the hands of your parents or elders well, ok the modern way now is just kissing the checks or “beso beso” sharing whatever the family can afford to put on the table but the important thing is the family togetherness depicting the Nativity, The first Christmas. And I think that’s what’s the spirit of Christmas is all about.

How about you? Do you spend Christmas with your family?

Remembering the Dead on All Saint’s Day

candles burning

Candles burning images from Flickr

Did you go to the cemetery today because today is All Saints Day or the Day of the Dead. When I was still in the Philippines  I usually go to the cemetery to pay my respect to my dead  grandfathers and other relatives. But sometimes if it was impossible for me to go to my province I would light some candles and say a little prayer while remembering all my dead relatives which I also doing even since I live in Denmark.  But I will tell you a little of what I can remember about this tradition in the Philippines.

Every November 1,  Filipinos celebrates All Saints Day to commemorate or remember their dearly beloved departed  members of their family.  But it is also customary to go to the cemetery before November 1 so they can clean and paint the tombs to prepare for the big day. Millions of Filipinos  flocks to the cemeteries bringing candles and flowers to their dead relatives. Others brings foods, fruits and sweets and this traditions came from Filipinos with chinese ancestry. The parish priest go around the tombs and pray for the souls of the dead to forgive their sins when they were alive. This traditions originates from the Roman Catholic tradition during the old times but now it’s almost celebrated even by non catholics. This tradition is not scary but festive some kind of Family Picnic. It shows the Filipinos respect for family even though they are already dead and this is also the time for unofficial family reunions. Time to catch up with relatives and meet relatives you never knew. Coming from a small village I particularly loves to hear the stories about those people on the tombs and how we are related to them.

My grandfather on my father side of the family died before I was born but I can remember that we visited his tomb  yearly and we enjoyed it. That’s the time when we see all kinds of candles especially those big red candles with dragons which were brought by my uncle from Manila, they bought it from China Town in Binondo. It is from 2-6 cm in diameter thick and half meter long with Golden Dragon which we wait until it melts so we can collect the wax and make balls so we can later use as a floor shine.

We have a tradition in our province where the priest goes from house to house a week before Nov.1 and say a prayer for all  the  dead and I can remember that time that we should write all the names of our departed relatives.  The priest  is accompanied by the elders who can recite prayers in Latin.  The prayers helps the  the souls to go up in heaven if they are in the purgatory. Purgatory is where the soul stay before they go  to Heaven. If some of the living remembers them some of their sins will be forgiven. Well ok that’s a little bit hard for non catholic to understand but it will be nice that even if you’re dead that somebody still can remember you and includes you in their prayers.

In Pangasinan we also have some kind of trick or treat tradition but with a different twist. On the eve of November 1 a group of young people go from house to house and songs they render and the house owner offer them sweets and rice cakes. There is also group make fun they steal something during the dawn and later they return it. But usually it is eggs or chickens since it was normal  to chicken in the provinces in the old-time. But that was long time ago I think  this tradition had been replaced by party and karaoke  singing with the Magic Sing Karaoke machine.

Jack o Lantern from Google Images

In Denmark they used to  celebrate All Saints Day on November 1 and All souls Day the next Day since Catholicism was prevalent in the old days. During the reformation period it became just a day that was November 1 and that has remained up to the presence. But the young people are slowly adopting the American tradition of Halloween or actually it was a European tradition since the Scottish and the Irish who brought that Halloween tradition to North America. This is  making a Jack o Lantern where they carve a pumpkin and put a lantern or candle inside and while children wears different scary outfit like for example witches, vampires etc. This new tradition just started out in the 1990’s brought by watching American sitcoms or TV series. But this time is good time for the shops especially the Flower shops who sells flowers, candles, squash or pumpkins.

Young people think of Halloween as the time to party like my classmates in Copenhagen where party  theme  was to come in Smurfs costumes and you can’t believe how creative they were. Well I did not went to that party because I am with my family and when there is 10 to 15 years age difference it is too hard to for me cope with craziness, drinking and smoking but I do attend class party once in a while. They are still some Danes who visit the graveyards and bring candles and flowers like we do in the Philippines but without fanfare.

Like in Denmark, Urbanites (those who lives in the Metropolitan) in the Philippines who belongs to the upper class are already practicing the Americans Halloween’s traditions. I remember when I was still working in the construction industry and we visit our projects in the  plush  Villages in Metro Manila, the streets of the high-end subdivisions for example Ayala Alabang Village, you will often see  displays of various Halloween themes and children’s dressed in various customs doing treat or treat. But it is not yet widespread because who can afford those expensive costumes and effects but only those on the higher status of the society.

Many people thought that tradition like Christmas and Halloween as a product of commercialism it is obviously true but it is op to us parents to decide what kind of traditions we gonna pass to our children.

Traditions tell us stories and describes  what kind of  beliefs or what are behavior of the people but sometimes they comes and goes but for sure they come back with a different twist.

How about you how do you celebrate Halloween?